Masterworks Chorale Offers World Premiere Performance of Middletown Chronicles

Photo provided by: Masterworks ChoralePhoto provided by: Masterworks Chorale

By: Andy Saxon—

MUNCIE, Ind. – Masterworks Chorale has something very special in the works for this spring, and you’re invited. As their thirty-eighth season winds to a close, the local choral singing ensemble and their artistic director, Dr. Andrew Crow, plan to leave the audience on a high note with the event, Middletown USA.

The May 14th event will kick-off the Delaware County celebrations honoring Indiana’s bicentennial at 7:30 p.m. in the Muncie Central High School auditorium, and tickets are free. The evening’s lineup will feature the world premiere performance of Middletown Chronicles: The Making of Middletown America, a brand new piece of music commissioned by Masterworks and written by award winning Hoosier composer, Dr. Marjorie Rusche.

Featuring the voices of Masterworks Chorale, guest soloists and accompanying orchestra, Middletown Chronicles celebrates Muncie as Middletown, a reference to famous sociological case studies of the same name first published in the 1920s and 30s. The source material from these studies is maintained by the Center for Middletown Studies, part of Archive and Special Collections, Ball State University Libraries. Archivists from Ball State assisted members of Masterworks in selecting text from the studies. These letters, diaries, poems, interviews, newspaper articles and other materials were provided to Dr. Rusche for inspiration, and many of them found their way into her final composition.

Also contributing to the event, a group of local fourth and fifth-graders from Motivate Our Minds (MOMs) took their own trip to the archives for inspiration. The field trip to Bracken Library – organized by Masterworks board member, Beth Zurzolo, MOMs director, Monique Armstrong and Ball State digital archivist, Brandon Pieczko – allowed the children both access to the collection and to distinguished professor of history, Jim Connolly. Connolly and Pieczko helped them to navigate the archives and to frame the information from their visit historically. Funded through a grant from Psi Iota Xi, the Motivate Our Minds students will contribute a mixed-media art installation reflecting their own place in Middletown history, to be displayed at the May 14th event.

Members of the community, both longtime Masterworks supporters and first-time listeners, are encouraged not to miss this event. It is appropriate for all ages and audiences and represents a unique opportunity to bring the community together around this first-ever performance of Middletown Chronicles. It is an ideal introduction to Masterworks Chorale and to live choral symphony.

Tickets are now available at no charge and can be picked up in the Masterworks Chorale office or the Cornerstone Center for the Arts reception desk – both located on the second floor of the Cornerstone Center for the Arts Building, 520 East Main Street in Muncie. Tickets that have not been distributed in advance of the event will be available at the door. Contact Masterworks Chorale by telephone at (765) 286-5347 extension 22, through email at or view their website, for more information.